Brands Hatch Day One – Highlights
F3 Cup’s second round of the year got off to an exciting start, with a thrilling qualifying session which was followed by an eventful first race.
F3 Cup's second round of the year got off to an exciting start, with a thrilling qualifying session which was followed by an eventful first race.
The morning's qualifying session saw no fewer than six drivers top the table in just 15 minutes. George Line was quick to post the fastest time ahead of Shane Kelly and Daryl Jones, neither of whom was able to match Stuart Wiltshire at first either. The CDR driver was also quick out of the box and soon jumped ahead of Line to take the top spot. Kelly responded quickly however, as he moved to the pole spot and was able to hold on to it for a few laps despite Line improving too. Robbie Watts made his mark shortly after, heading up to second place, ahead of Tony Bishop and Jones. It didn't take long for Jones to find his form however, posting a 43.187 to move to first place.
Kelly found himself in trouble shortly after, with his UWR Dallara ending up on the grass on the inside at Druids. It would take him a little while to get going again, costing valuable running time and allowing a storming Toby Bishop to jump to the top of the standings - indeed, the pack behind him from second to fourth were separated by just 8/100ths of a second! After a brief visit to the pit lane, Robbie Watts stormed round to post a 42.057 to take the top spot, but the lap was disallowed due to a track limits infringement, leaving Jones to take pole for the first race. At the chequered flag, the top five were separated by just 0.5s, with the next four separated by the same gap again.
The drivers lined up for Race One at 17:45, after a cool but dry day at the Kent circuit. Unfortunately for Robbie Watts, his Team Fox Dallara has trouble on the formation lap meaning he was unable to make the start of the race. As the lights changed, Kelly struggled to get his car off the line and ended up at the back of the pack as the rest of the grid headed off towards Paddock Hill. Jones capitalised on his pole position, leading into the first corner with Bishop and Line in tow. Stuart Wiltshire and Mark Harrison battled for fourth place, until Wiltshire developed clutch issues and was forced to retire. In the meantime, Kelly was staging a magnificent comeback, working his way back through the field to fourth before the Safety Car was deployed to aid the recovery of a spun Bishop at Clearways. The pack closed up behind the Safety Car over the next few laps, allowing Line and Kelly to close in on Jones.
The Safety Car pulled in with three minutes remaining on the clock; Kelly and Line attacked hard from the restart but Jones defended brilliantly and as the second and third place drivers battled each other he was able to eke out a little breathing room. Behind the podium three, Jacopo Sebastiani was chasing down Mark Harrison for fourth place, the pair crossing the line side-by-side as Daniel Tapinos caught up from sixth to join the battle.
On the final lap, Kelly made a last-gasp lunge up the inside at Druids to get past Line, but the CF Racing driver held his nerve and the position, managing to keep his second place spot until the chequered flag.
Jones' victory breaks Kelly's win streak, and the UWR driver will be keen to return to form in Sunday's two races. F3 Cup is back in action at 12:15 (15 minute race) and 17:35 (20 minute race) and will be covered by a live web stream again - visit www.f3cup.co.uk/live to access the feed
F3 Cup - Brands Hatch Indy Race One Result - 14 May 2016
- Daryl Jones - Dallara F308 VW - 18 laps
- George Line - Dallara F308 Honda +1.145
- Shane Kelly - Dallara F308 Honda +1.628
- Mark Harrison - Dallara F305 Opel +7.075
- Jacopo Sebastiani - Dallara F311 +7.150
- Daniel Tapinos - Dallara F311 Honda +8.356
- Malcolm Scott - Dallara F306 +10.662
- Geoffrey Hoodless - March 813 Toyota +1 lap
- Tony Bishop - Dallara F310 VW - DNF
- Stuart Wiltshire - Dallara F308 Mercedes - DNF
- Robbie Watts - Dallara F308 VW - DNF